Canes Drop Game 1 Of ACC Championship To Duke

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
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With so much riding on today’s game, Miami went with their ace pitcher Jake Smith. A win today and they move onto the semi finals on Saturday. With Duke, easily handling the Seminoles yesterday, 12-1, a victory today for them and they clinch Pool play and move on. For 6 innings everything was going well and then it didn’t. The offense finally awoke in the 6th to give the Canes a 2-0 lead after struggling in their usual fashion of not providing needed hits at the right time. The BP which has been the one thing positive this season, finally joined the offense in not providing when most needed. Our two most sure shut em down pitchers, Spencer Bodanza and Carson Palmquest, today were not able to deliver. A walk off HR in the 9th ended this year’s hope to finish strong in Tournament play ended which like the rest of the season: DISAPPOINTING.

The one point spot in today’s game was the pitching of Jake Smith. A long scoreless first inning had his pitch count at 21 and it looked like another day of our starter not getting beyond the fifth. Jake settled in and doing what he has done all season; making short work of the opposition. By the end of the 5th he had thrown 64 pitches and could have easily gone 6. Instead, Gino went to the BP in the 6th after putting up the first runs in the game in the top half of the 6th. Spencer who has been almost unhittable all season easily carried us through the 6th, but three back to back hits to open the 7th to tie the game at 2. Daniel Federman had to come in relief to stop the bleeding and almost didn’t, after giving up a double and intentional walk to load the bases. An inning ending DP was the saving grace to keep the game at a tie going into the 8th. Carson brought in as has been all season for the final two innings to hold Duke at two runs. The offense continued to be a non contributor as they have been all game and hopefully in the final two innings they would be able to dig deep enough to tie a couple of hits together to once again take the lead. Carson his solid self with 3up/3down in the 8th and one out in the 9th when Michael Rothenberg who had a grand slam in yesterday game against the Noles came to the plate. His single in the 7th with runners on 2nd and 3rd tied the score at 2. With a 1-2 count Carson delivers the pitch which sends the winning run over the left field wall and ended what has become the story of Miami this season: No consistency in offense and today a BP which has been there all season, today unable to carry the load.

Five of Miami’s six hits today were for extra bases, but only in the 6th were they able to utilize them to put runs on the board. Overall Miami’s hitting was once again below the Mendoza Line batting .188 and with runners in scoring position 1-12 for .083. 11 base runners left on base supported by 11 strikeouts leaving our runners stranded. The 3rd inning was the first sign of life coming from the Canes after Jenkins and Lala struck out. Anthony doubles to left center and both brothers are hit by pitch to load the bases bringing Yoyo to the plate. Yoyo would have a 2-4 day with a pair of doubles but at this turn at bat when we could have used one of those doubles, strikes out on 4 pitches. The inconsistency of Miami’s hitting is shown by Alex leading off the next inning getting that needed double but the offense stopped at that point leaving him to finish the 4th remaining on 2nd.

For 5 scoreless innings it was a definite pitcher’s contest with neither team being able to score. While Miami had opportunities in the 3rd and 4th, Jake was solid only allowing a pair of singles along with his 6 strikeouts with no one getting beyond first. Miami would open the 6th with back to back doubles by CDC and Yoyo(RBI) and Yoyo scoring on a throwing error by the SS 6-2. 

The lead would hold for one inning. Spencer coming out for his second inning to pitch was presented with something he has not seen all season back to back to back hits (single,double,single) tying the game at two. After recording his first out of the inning, Daniel Federman gets the call to stop the bleeding. First batter doubles and then intentionally walks the next to load the bases with one out. 6-4-3 DP does stop the bleeding until the KO punch in the 9th. Miami did have another opportunity in the 8th to change the course of the game with Yoyo’s one out double ( his second) . Rather than pitch to Alex he is intentionally walked after his count goes 2-0. Runners once again in scoring position, Gil strikes out and Pitelli grounds out 4-3.

The offense once again as in the so many games were not able to get the job done leaving the pitching staff to carry the load. Today the load was dropped along with our hitting. They play the Noles tomorrow but hopefully be playing for pride against a rival where there is not that much love between them. A win would be most satisfying and maybe give them a boost going into postseason. From the way they have played all season, tomorrow might be their only chance for lasting satisfaction to carry them over to next year. Today was a crusher, and hopefully there is something left for one final game. They meet the Noles in the second game tomorrow schedule to start at 3

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